Book Reviews

Growing Food in a Hotter, Drier Land by Gary Paul Nabhan

Growing Food in a Hotter, Drier Land
: Lessons from Desert Farmers on Adapting to Climate Uncertainty by Gary Paul Nabhan

I have long enjoyed reading books by Gary Paul Nabhan. A nature writer, farming activist, and promoter of environmental and cultural diversity, Nabhan has lived on his small farm in Patagonia, Arizona, and worked and studied throughout the Sonora desert for more than 30 years. He has researched the plants and farming techniques of indigenous peoples around the world and is also one of the founders of ‘Native Seed Search’ an organization that saves, shares and sells heirloom and ‘landrace’ seeds adapted to dry climates. His books offer a tour of specific regions through ethnobotanist eyes with a knack for Read more

Growing Food in a Hotter, Drier Land
: Lessons from Desert Farmers on Adapting to Climate Uncertainty by Gary Paul Nabhan Read More »

fallen leaves in a pond

Water

Water. Our planet’s surface is covered about 70% by this life essential liquid. That is approximately 331 million cubic miles of water. However, all but 3% contains salt. Three-quarters of this 3% of freshwater is in the form of ice. Half of the remaining ¼ of freshwater is located 2,500+ feet below the surface and embedded in rock. That is too deep to be obtained economically and leaves the water in lakes, rivers, accessible aquifers, (groundwater), and the atmosphere. Just 1/8 of 3%, or 0.375 percent!Obviously, this precious resource, this gift of the earth, must be protected and utilized wisely,

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The Wild Wisdom of Weeds, by Katrina Blair

The Wild Wisdom of Weeds: 13 Essential Plants for Human Survival

Eat your weeds or there’ll be no dessert!At a lecture I once attended during an organic farming conference a speaker asserted that the best form of food security would come from learning to eat grass. “You would always have enough to share and next to no one would try to take it away from you.” Laughter followed.Seventeen years later. Climate change, extended drought, massive floods, failing agriculture systems, famines a world population of 7 billion+, who’s laughing now?These “scientific facts” do not care whether anyone believes in them or not. Food production, either organic or conventional, is, in its present

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The Plant Hunters

The Plant Hunters: Two Hundred Years of Adventure and Discovery Around the World

There are so many wonderful plants that gardeners enjoy and admire at home as well as in famous gardens and parks. But how many of us know the origins of these plants or how they came to be here? Most of them, if not indigenous to our location, were brought here by plant collectors or “Hunters” from around the world. Collected from nearly every continent on the planet by botanical/horticulturists that, far from being ‘airy fairy pansy lovers’, were intrepid, adventurous and daring folk, the Indiana Joneses of the plant world: Sir Joseph Banks aboard the EndeavorDavid Douglas and the

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Gaia's Garden, A Guide

Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture

Perhaps one of the most recognizable heralds of spring are narcissus, (the genus that includes daffodils, jonquils, and paperwhites). The flowers of these geophytes (bulbs) play a larger role in my garden than just their display of bright cheery blooms. Because all narcissus bulbs are poisonous to just about everything including gophers, I have incorporated them into my apple orchard “guild”. “Plant guilds” are a permaculture term used to describe a group of plants that companion well together providing benefits to one another thus enhancing their growth and survival better than they would fare on their own. Some simple examples

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"Wild Fermentation; the Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live Cultured Foods" by Sandor Ellix Katz

Wild Fermentation; the Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live Culture Foods

The first batch of sour pickles are in the crock and will be ready in just about a day!If you haven’t read this book yet then I highly recommend you do so!So many recipes beyond pickles for vegetable krauts & kimchis, miso & tempeh, beers, wines, & meads, yogurt & cheese, sourdough bread, and more!Simple clear instructions on how to turn your gardens bounty and real food ingredients into super healthy fare.I am completely hooked on “wild fermentation!”

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Medicinal Plants of the Pacific West

Medicinal Plants of the Pacific West” by Michael Moore

As a nurseryman and grower specializing in edible, ceremonial and medicinal plants for gardens and landscapes here on the central coast of California as well as an amateur herbalist, I am always looking for more information on medicinal plants native to this area. “Medicinal Plants of the Pacific West” by Michael Moore contains a wealth of information for both the novice and the advanced herbalist practitioner: Identification and safe use of the plants Appearance, habitats, collecting methods and storage Therapeutic uses, constituents, and preparations Potential toxicities and medical contradictions Tea making, tincturing, and salve making More than 300 species are

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One Straw Revolution

One Straw Revolution

In many years of gardening, as well as writing about and teaching classes on horticulture, I’ve always attempted to incorporate self sufficiency and permaculture techniques.I am deeply indebted to the knowledge and skill of those who have come before me, especially one of the earliest and most revolutionary proponents of self-sufficient, natural and permaculture farming practices, the late Masanobu Fukuoka. There have been many good books written on the topic, but in my opinion, none as straight forward, simple and engaging as The One-Straw Revolution.The following is from the back jacket of my copy: “Few books written in our soulless times have

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Gardening at the Dragon's Gate

Gardening at the Dragon’s Gate: At Work in the Wild and Cultivated World

Wendy Johnson is a Zen Buddhist meditation teacher and pioneer, leader and head gardener for San Francisco’s Green Gulch Farm Center (located in Marin County, northern California), gardens that grew out of fields that “curve like an enormous green dragon between the hills and the ocean”. In this delightful book she shares her experiences and profound knowledge in a manner that leaves one, in the words of Joanna Macy; “…shaken into a fuller, gladder life.” A distillation of her life and work, “Fundamental work that permeates your entire life. It demands your energy and heart, and it gives you back

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Central Coast Rose Manual; Creating a Personal Rose Garden by Joseph Truskot

Whether you have only a few roses, a full on rose garden, or just the desire to create one as a part of your personal garden paradise, then Joseph Truskot’s Central Coast Rose Manual is the must have resource book for you. Truskot is a Master Rosarian of the Monterey Bay Rose Society with many years of practical hands on experience in every aspect of rose growing which he shares throughout his manual, making this work the best book I have ever come across on the topic of rose gardens. The book is laid out in a manner that gives

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